Sunday, October 15th, 2006
Sunday Cleaning – Volume 52
|Woolly Leaves / Quiet Waters (Outside)
Baby Eagle / Baby Eagle (Outside)
In the past month there’ve been not one but two releases from solo Constantines, but anyone hoping for an extra dose of their sweaty rock will have to wait for the band’s next proper release – the two projects from keyboardist Will Kidman and guitarist Steve Lambke are both gentle and introspective records that see them indulging their sensitive sides. I’m only casually familiar with The Constantines’ material, but find it quite interesting that when away from their day jobs, two of them would put out such low-key records.
Kidman’s Woolly Leaves is a cozy, record that sounds like it was recorded early on a Sunday morning, sun sneaking in through the curtains and trying not to wake the neighbours (and the liner notes tell you exactly the Toronto address this scenario may have taken place in). Kidman’s vocals are quiet and fragile and the acoustic guitars gently strummed, the only exception being a song recorded live on piano at the Music Gallery – that one manages to somehow be both louder yet more frail than the others, as though he’s much more comfortable huddled under the covers with the 4-track than out in the public eye.
Baby Eagle is more of a proper band than solo project, with Lambke enlisting Winnipeggers Christine Fellows and Weakerthan John K Samson, amongst others, to help out. The result is a more extroverted affair than his bandmate’s album with a sprightlier, shaggier vibe. Some of it sounds like an Appalachian hoedown, other moments recall a front-porch singalong, but all of it is decidedly bright-eyed, folky and on-mark (if often off-key).
Maybe not necessarily obvious additions to the collections of Cons fans, but both albums have much to recommend them regardless.
|Barton Carroll / Love & War (Skybucket)
Barton Carroll is not a Constantine. He resume is still impressive, however, having been a long-serving member of Crooked Fingers. His second solo record is a smoky, solemn collection of meditations on the titular subjects. Though Carroll’s voice isn’t the most versitile instrument, its weary, scholarly timbre is generally well-suited to the task at hand though he over-annuciates a bit on his cover of “The Dark End Of The Street” – soul don’t need articulation. Similarly, it doesn’t rock out all that well as he attempts to do on “Vulture”, but when it comes to storytelling folk music, Carroll is in his element and is frequently effective and affecting. Love & War is out on Tuesday.
np – Giant Sand / Giant Songs, Vol. 2: The Best of Giant Sand